Before & After...Weeks 26, 27, & 28

Well, the week leading up to spring break is always crazy but this year was crazier than usual! And that is why I am 3 weeks behind on this blog post! So I am covering the 2 weeks before spring break and the 1 week after spring break all in this post! Thus why this post is called “Before & After…”

All the way up until spring break 2nd grade was working on “Walking Up the Hill” and playing the melody on barred instruments! The text I created to go with #8 from Erstes Spiel am Xylophon is:

Walking up the hill is fun and I can do it all day long! Walking up the hill is fun and I could do it all day long!

Rolling down and walking up, rolling down and walking up! Take a breath now! Rolling down and walking up!

See me running up the hill now, see me running up the hill now, see me running up the hill now, take a breath and come back down!

We spent quite a bit of time with the speech and movement to be sure it was ingrained in them before we got to instruments! Ultimately, all 9 of my 2nd grade classes were able to play the entire piece and some of the classes also got to add the accompaniment! You can see/hear the entire melody on the video to the right of this post!

When we came back from Spring break this past week we started “Riding in a Buggy” which is a folk song that is part of my published resource called “Playing with Improvisation” which you can purchase and download from Music Is Elementary using the link to the right of this post! We learned the song using the dance I created. The B section to this piece is the poem “To Market, To Market” and we label their circle spot as “home” and then they leave home putting the rhythm in their feet and then return home following the same path that they used to go to market! This then transfers to the barred instruments. We start at G (home/tonic) and go away from home and then follow the path back to home. (G) You can see a video of my 2nd graders playing the improvisation to the right of this post! This lesson covers the following concepts: mi re do, ABA form, movement pathways, movement direction, G bordun, steady beat, and improvising in G pentatonic.

After the 1st grade program, 1st grade had to get their post-assessment finished immediately so we took the post-test. I was so proud of them because we hadn’t been doing our Rhythms at the beginning of class for the last month because of their program. They did so well on the post-assessment! It just shows that consistency of doing things really pays off! They truly know the material! I will be adding some samples of their post-assessment into the resource section of this website in a couple of weeks!

Once the post-assessment was done and we came back after spring break, we started “A Dozen New Laid Eggs” which is a Mother Goose text that I set to a melody! I also created a partner dance to go with it! I use “1, 2, Tie My Shoe” as the B section for this. They used that poem in Kindergarten so it isn’t totally new to them! There is a partner dance done in 2 concentric circles for the A section and then we clap the numbers with our partners and pat the words of the B section! At instruments we explore different ways to play the B section, like playing the numbers down low and the words up high and then reversing that! It is a great lesson for improvisation in these early years! The concepts covered in this lesson are: singing and playing instruments in G pentatonic, aaab phrase form, ABA form, circle mixer, and improvisation in G pentatonic.

Before break Kindergarten started taking their “Fish Who Could Wish” pieces to instruments and we started with everyone learning part of “I Wish I Was Shaped Like a Star” which is all about shapes! The B section is in 7/8 meter but they have no trouble with it because all they know is to say “triangle, circle, circle, triangle, circle circle, triangle circle circle, square” - proof of the power of speech! At instruments that B section is their improvisation but they only choose one note to be their “triangle” note and one note to be their “circle” note and then they all play an F on “square.” I don’t have them play the rhythm of the words, just one time for each shape name! It’s turned out to be a really great beginning improvisation lesson for Kindergarten. You can see Kinders playing “I Wish I Was Shaped Like a Star” on the video to the right of this post!

Now that we are back from spring break, we have started working on individual instrument pieces for program. They are doing so well that this past week a couple of classes got to a point that they could put 2 parts together on instruments. “A Car Under the Sea?” has 2 parts that are based on one speech ostinato. They say “way down in the sea” and the BX/AX play on “way down in” and the SX/Glocks play on “the sea.” I was so impressed that they got it. (most of them did :-) They have to keep the text going and not try to sing but the other 3 classes will be singing so it all works! You can see room 13 perform their ostinato while I sing the song on the video to the right of this post. We also worked on “Show Me the Suits” and here the BX/AX play the steady beat bordun and the SX/Glocks play on key words of the song, so this is one that they should be singing while they play! You can see room 10 perform this song on the video to the right of this post.

Program happens on May 9th and it will be here before we know it! Each Kindergartener will have one instrument part for the program! So 4 of the 9 pieces are on instruments and the other 5 will be accompanied by me on piano and they will have movement for many of them too! This should make for a very cute program that is manageable and yet gives them all a chance to be fully engaged the entire time, which is always my goal for programs! If you are in the Skokie, IL area on May 9th and want to see some really cute kindergarteners please come join us! There will be two performances - one at 5:30 and one at 6:30. With 8 sections of kindergarten we have to split them up and do two performances to fit everyone in.

I hope you are enjoying the weather change, although I wish it would warm up even more at this point but it is nice to see some flowers popping up and not need a heavy winter coat! Happy Spring everyone!

Spring is finally here...weeks 29 & 30

Heading into Program Week...Week 25